Tag: Feature

[Feature] Catching up with Producer Jetson

Turn your head around for an instant and you might miss something special from producer Jetson. The New Zealand artist and Chill Children founder has released four heaters in the last few months.

His most recent is ‘Coolin’ which sounds exactly like summer. Which it is, on the other side of the globe. Prior to that drop, he released ‘pull up on u’ , which is unstoppable, pounding through the speakers, and comes complete with edited video work.

From flips to reworkings to ‘late night edits’ to original numbers, his portfolio is one to play during a midnight rainstorm. Something to impress your friends and appease your eardrums.

With four pieces of music that impress following his past Lemon Water EP, consider this a reminder to continue listening to Jetson. Who knew bass-heavy bangers could be this smooth?

Ben Niespodziany
Twitter: @neonpajamas

Nothing is Promised: An Interview with Billy Woods

Last month, I spoke with New York rapper Billy Woods: the Backwoodz Studioz mastermind responsible for some of the best solo hip-hop albums of the decade. Like Dour Candy (2013), like Today, I Wrote Nothing (2015), like Known Unknowns (2017). Woods is also part of the duo Armand Hammer, a group which includes rapper/producer Elucid. The two returned full force at the end of last year with their third album Rome. Then Elucid released a solo album. Then the duo released three music videos as well as a vinyl-only album Paraffin, which dropped in July. Fingers crossed for a digital version down the road. I spoke with the prolific MC about his creative process, his work space, his music rotations, and much more.

 

 

How’s 2018 been treating you so far right now?

Honestly? It’s been terrible. Hopefully some good writing comes out of it because 2018 has been an unmitigated disaster thus far from the moment I opened my eyes on January 1st.


You’ve released solo albums in 2013, 2015, and 2017. Given this two year pace, can we expect your next in 2019?

I never noticed that pattern before and that’s a good question. I have some stuff I’m excited about but currently waiting for some collaborators to clear their calendars, so it’s hard to say. And I hate stopping the middle of a project to work on a different one because I feel like each thing needs to be it’s own chamber, I get worried they will be too similar. Maybe that’s something I need to let go of, who knows.

Your solo and collaborative albums are incredibly consistent. Do you build them up slowly? Or do you create in bulk and trim down the tracks?

Thank you. That’s a complicated question to answer because every one of them was made a bit differently. History Will Absolve Me had lots of producers but also involved a lot of recording and winnowing out the best tracks. It was really about me and engineer/producer/consigliere Willie Green locking in and working in a bit of a vacuum. Dour Candy and Known Unknowns are basically one-producer records, there wasn’t a lot of extra fat to trim, because Blockhead (nor Aesop for that matter) isn’t giving me tons beats at a time and not everything I get is going to fit what I’m looking for. I do still have a couple joints that didn’t make it onto Known Unknowns though, and bizarrely all of them were collaborative songs. Today, I Wrote Nothing was the quickest album I ever made and was a project where form and concept dictated everything. I recorded most of that at ELUCID’s spot and it was intentionally a very un-fiddled with project. I wanted something visceral and unedited, I made songs as long as I felt in the moment, no longer, I rewrote nothing. As for Armand Hammer; collaboration necessitates entirely different processes.

 

 

You have one of the most unique, freeflowing voices in hip-hop. What’s your writing process like

Honestly, it really depends a lot on the project but usually I find a beat and see where it takes me. Sometimes I just down ideas or concept or just a line that I think might take me somewhere and then come back to that list if I am looking for inspiration. I sit at my desk and smoke and drink tea and write and yell at my cats.

What does the future of Backwoodz Studioz entail?

Nothing is promised. I hope we can continue to build, expand our reach, keep putting out records and artwork that I am proud of.


What’s your workspace/studio space look like? What are some studio essentials?

My workspace is a wooden desk I brought to my current hideout in a semi-abandoned building in Crown Heights, awaiting the gentrifiers wrecking ball. I first got this desk off the streets of Brooklyn in the early 2000s and it’s beyond scuffed, it’s probably fair to say “battered”. On top of that are three books: a dog-eared James Baldwin biography,  John Stockwell’s In Search of Enemies, and Homer’s Odyssey- which I have never actually read. There are haphazard piles of bills, random photos, a hard drive, a cup of tea, water, a watch Willie Green gave to me, a big thing full of pens, markers and scissors, some Harpers magazines, scraps of paper with notes on them and a notice from the gas company that I still owe them money from the old apartment. There is an ashtray with a spliff of that Uptown Haze in it. There is a small black cat looking out the window and an even smaller silver laptop. There is an Ironman CD in the case for Dizzee Rascal’s Boy In the Corner. I have no idea why it’s even out as I currently have no CD player. There is an untidy stack of more books and graphic novels and old comics all thrown together from the recent move that I should organize but haven’t. There is a document shredder and a Sunday edition of The New York Times from a week ago. There are two separate broken pairs of headphones.

 

 

If you were to empty your pockets, what would you find?

I have never had a wallet so, keys, cash, ID and bankcard, papers, loose change, some list of tasks written on a piece of paper and folded up in a back pocket a week ago.

 

Outside of your own music, what have you been listening to recently?

Last couple weeks?

Roc Marciano – RR2
Henry Canyons – The Cool Side
Count Bass D – Dwight Spitz
Diplomatic Immunity
stuff Kenny Segal sends me
Mach Hommy – various projects
That new Small Pro/Zilla Rocca
Serengeti – Friends & Family
Denmark Vessey guest verses – was actually thinking who has the best guest verses
Enjoyed the Pusha T record well enough but didn’t love it. Don’t think I’ll ever be able to dig the solo stuff like I did the Clipse.

Listened to that Tierra Whack album, definitely worth it.

 

 

Do you have any advice for artists/rappers working on their craft?

I’m not really sure I am in a position to advise without knowing what the person wants to get out of it.


Any final words / thoughts / shout-outs?

Check out the new Armand Hammer record, Paraffin, I think it’s an interesting project even thought it wasn’t made like your typical album.

 

Ben Niespodziany

Twitter: @neonpajamas

[Feature] Melancholic Rain Frown: Catching up with AJ Suede

Rapper/producer AJ Suede will go down as one of the most prolific underground rappers. Steadily releasing cohesive and bar-heavy projects, Suede has already delivered with three EPs in the last three months. Let’s get familiar.

Most recently, we received Rain Based, which came fully produced by cloud rap icon Keyboard Kid. Five songs in length, the EP is lost in the clouds, smooth as hell, and complete with features from BB Sun and BB Rob God. Although Suede is from the East Coast, this is most assuredly a Seattle affair.

Prior to Rain Based, AJ Suede released the five song EP System of a Frown II. It came fully produced by Nedarb (just like the first volume). As a result, it’s dark, it’s haunted, it’s full of hi hats. Suede really shines on the track “Made a Difference”, which demands a quality sound system.

Before these two executively produced EPs, Suede dropped the six song Melancholy Trill II. Recorded in Seattle, it’s a unique release as it features a different producer on every track. With familiar names like BB Sun, Wolftone, and JPEGMAFIA, the project goes down as a quality first release of Suede’s 2018. With three already in the ring, we can certainly expect more as the year progresses.

Ben Niespodziany
Twitter: @neonpajamas

Blue Bottle Tequila & a Nation-Wide Tour: A Candy Drips Interview with Nedarb

L.A.-based producer and musician Nedarb has one hell of a discography. Not including production features, Ned has released over 100 songs on his own SoundCloud, including tracks with artists like Slug Christ, Yung Bruh, Eric Dingus, Cat Soup, Little Pain, Lil Peep, Wifigawd, and countless others. Now, as he prepares to tour through November with Ghostemane, Wavy Jone$, and Chxpo, as well as planning a few more releases before 2018, we decided to reach out to Nedarb and talk about his process, his drink of choice, and the influence of cloud rap. 

Candy Drips: Hey man, how’s it going? Care to introduce yourself to the reader?

Nedarb: Yerrr. I’m Nedarb or Ned or just plain old Braden. I’m 24, live in Los Angeles and am primarily a producer among other things.

Candy Drips: You’re closing out the year with a month long tour. Are you all ready to go?

Nedarb: Yes I’m going on tour with Ghostemane, Wavy Jone$ and Chxpo! I’m as ready as I can be. We’re buying some props and shit so it’ll be fun.

Candy Drips: What can audiences expect from your sets?

Nedarb: Honestly every act including myself on this lineup has crazy lit sets. Tons of mosh pits, crowd interaction, intimacy but mainly blood, sweat and tears.

Candy Drips: The tour goes from Minneapolis to Chicago and passes right through your home state. Are you salty you don’t get to play back home? When’s the last time you were in Wisconsin?

Nedarb: Wisconsin actually isn’t my home state. I grew up in Alberta, Canada throughout my elementary years then mainly grew up in New Hampshire. I’d say NH is my home state. I moved to WI in 2010 cuz of my dad’s job/me going to college there. But nah, I’m not too salty tbh. I have a handful of people I’d like to see but I get to see them enough in other cities so it’s not too bad. I haven’t been to Wisconsin since maybe winter of 2015.

Candy Drips: You’re one of the more eclectic producers in the game, with ties to names like Ghostemane but also Milo and even with a side project known as The Cigs. Are you open to all kinds of music? Does it just depend on the day?

Nedarb: Yes, I listen to all sorts of music which is why I make all sorts of music. I don’t like to stick to one genre. I think more artists should be braver and try out different shit. But at the same time sometimes that ends up being corny. I just make what I wanna hear. Obviously I’m mainly involved in rap music right now but I grew up playing in emo bands and even making techno music on Garageband in high school. But yeah, shout out Ghoste that’s my bro and Milo is a day one homie I’ve known since 2010 where we met in college. More The Cigs stuff in the works too, shout out Cortex.

Candy Drips: Can we expect to see a Nedarb blues album down the road?

Nedarb: Ehhh maybe not Blues, I’m not a good enough musician to play Blues music [laughs].

Candy Drips: Candy Drips is dominantly a cassette label. Do you think tapes will always have a market?

Nedarb: Yes, I highly believe in and support cassettes and any physical copies of music because someday the internet could get wiped like who knows, and all of the digital music would be lost. Physicals are like fossils that people will find hundreds of years from now.

Candy Drips: We chatted for a while after James Laurence from Friendzone passed earlier this year. Can you speak a bit on the duo’s influence on your music, and the cloud rap movement in general?

Nedarb: Cloud rap was definitely the coolest shit to me in terms of rap music in the past 10 years. I love ambient music, emotional stuff, trap, melodic shit, etc. etc. and it was just a perfect mix of all of that.

I’d say Clams Casino and Friendzone are my top 2 production influences for sure. They just made beats that could make me cry. I’d never felt that way about other production before.

Candy Drips: Do you make music every day or does it come in waves?

Nedarb: It comes in waves. I’ll go weeks without making music but everyday I try to do something productive in terms of my career. Life gets hella busy tho, I really have to make time to make shit, but at the same time I never like to force anything. when I was visiting home in NH last week I made the most shit I made in the past few months, mainly because I felt refreshed and peaceful at home. Also whenever anyways says, “Come to the studio” or “Let’s work right now” I never want to [laughs] I just do shit on my own time and send it out.

Candy Drips: What can we expect from you as we close out 2017 and enter in 2018?

Nedarb: I’m TRYING to wrap up an album featuring production from myself with all my homies on the vocals. That’s gonna take a while though. The only shit I have planned aside from random singles produced by me here and there is a collab tape w/ TRiPPJONES dropping around Halloween and a collab EP w/ lil zubin sometime this winter. Oh, and also I’m pretty sure i’m gonna be doing some shit with Chynna, which I’m most excited about. Also just more GBC shit of course.

Candy Drips: What bottle of liquor are you grabbing from the corner store?

Nedarb: Lately I’ve been drinking tequila. I forget what the one I get is called but it’s like hella tall and the bottle is dark blue [laughs].

Candy Drips: What’s your favorite album of the year?

Nedarb: Prolly the new Corbin album.

Candy Drips: Any words of wisdom / final thoughts?

Nedarb: Yeah, don’t let girls break your heart.

Ben Niespodziany
Twitter: @neonpajamas

Piloting a Cloudd Body Spaceship: An Interview with MondreM.A.N

Cloud Rap is still alive in the eyes of Bay Area legend MondreM.A.N. The influential visionary has been active for over half a decade (with solo work and projects as part of Main Attrakionz) and recently gave us a batch of new material to bump. Not only did he announce a partnership with Jungle Strut music, but he also released a music video and single for the track “Helen Keller” (included above). Produced by Rav Mojo, the bass-heavy track showcases Mondre in his element. I spoke with 1/2 of the Best Duo Over over email and chatted about his future plans, the tragic loss of Friendzone member James Laurence, and the impact Monre has already made on the rap game.

Candy Drips: Hey man, how’s it going? Care to introduce yourself to the reader?

MondreMAN: yerrrp wats hannnin dis Mondre Mathafukin M.A.N, salamalkim hope eybody str8 & maintainin out dere.

Candy Drips: You just announced a deal along with releasing a single and a video. Was it a loose track or part of a bigger project?

MondreMAN: i recorded dat project in LA lyk a year or 2 bak. shout out jungle strut music, “i want tha world” will be comin out soon be onda lookout for alot comin frum dat project. bt it was kinda like a few otha projects in the past. i pretty much had da music done and then a support system came and wanted to help/be apart of this so we made it happen. shout out Greg & Rav Mojo for eythang.

Candy Drips: What can we expect from Mondre as we close out 2017 and enter into 2018?

MondreMAN: i cant tell da future so just stay ready so yall ain gotta git ready haha. but im writin sum films rii now an im puttin da finishin tuches on my next project that i feel iz my best rii now! dat shit slap so hard aha bt ima hav ta doa notha 1 of these wit yall an let ya kno wats da deal with that. alot i wana say bout this new shit comin bt ima hold back.

Candy Drips: MAz is such a dynasty and an influential powerhouse. Has it been difficult promoting yourself as a solo artist?

MondreMAN: umm not really cause i ain really git ta pushin how it shud be done yet. i js ben gettin to da Big Bag of Chips ya feel me.

Candy Drips: When y’all started releasing music like crazy back in 2011/2012, did you think it would be as historic and groundbreaking five years later? How do you look back on those times?

MondreMAN: we came in dis game doin wat we loved & wanted ta do & we are actually Dope & ill at dis so it did wat it did as yall can see. i love watchin all da old videos an pics ect smh lol

Candy Drips: Do you think cloud rap is still alive?

MondreMAN: all ima say rii now iz that it neva died. Gahdamm Gahdamm lol ima gitta VVS CLOUDD piece real soon inshallah an a bust down Mishka watch on mamas aha. dis Cloudd shit bigger den rap to ME an yall will see an understand real soon. im js focus on dem blue chicken strips rii now.

Candy Drips: It’s tragic that James Laurence passed earlier this year, and I’ve found myself revisiting the Friendzone songs over the last few months. Care you to speak on Friendzone and the legacy they left behind?

MondreMAN: i got love fo dem an dey shud kno that. i miss yu jigga james an yu too dylan, holla at me yerrrrp. i find that subject hard to talk about publicly. FriendZone 4eva tho beleeve dat.

Candy Drips: Candy Drips is dominantly a cassette label. Do you think tapes will always have a market?

MondreMAN: shid i think so. just need ta come out wit sum upgraded tape players. i ain seen 1 in hella long ta be real wit cha aha.

Candy Drips: What bottle of liquor are you grabbing from the corner store? Joints, blunts, spliffs, bongs, or bowls?

MondreMAN: lol Henny raws an dutches an wateva else i wana put in my tank haha Cloudd Body! yerrrp

Candy Drips: Outside of your own music, what have you been listening to recently?

MondreMAN: tha carter 1, lil suzy frum bak nda 80s i think an whole lotta old tunes it feel lyk now aha. bt im feelin dat girl rico nasty tho aha she kinda bussin i ain neva herd a chick lyk dat. she gotta song wit trappinbenny who i wana beat frum that slap lyk ike did tina yu herd aha an shit a lot of mafuggas dat ain got no music recorded or kno anything bout da internet/music game bt got Gas tho onda real. hopefully da world will hear dem soon.

Candy Drips: Any words of wisdom / final thoughts?

MondreMAN: Boss ya Life UP! rip doughboy roc. yall be smooth out dere yo, 1love yerrrrp

Ben Niespodziany
Twitter: @neonpajamas

Wisdom From Atlantis: A Candy Drips Interview with DJ Burn One

DJ Burn One

[Photo cred: Micah Green]

DJ Burn One is a living legend. A producer and engineer who is seemingly glued behind the boards, he remains one of the most prolific and influential beatmakers residing in Atlanta. Having worked with artists like A$AP Rocky, Freddie Gibbs, Starlito, and others, Burn One is also a member of the Five Points Bakery, where he cooks up music with Go! Ricky Go!, Walt Live, and plenty of other artists coming and going from the studio. On top of solo work and production work, the three members are also part of the band iNDEEDFACE, featured later in the article. Like I said: prolific. Check out the interview below as I spoke with the talented musician about industry insight, multitasking, the importance of experimentation, and his heavily slept-on yoga album.

Candy Drips: How has this summer been treating you?
DJ Burn One: Pretty good, man. I signed a kid a few years back named Pi’erre Bourne. I met him at this iStandard event where they have folks come and play beats for me and I give ’em a critique. He did 6 records on Playboi Carti’s album, including “Magnolia” which just went platinum.  As far as the rest of the crew, we’ve been heavy into making our own samples from scratch for the past few years. Supplying music to some of our favorite producers. We got a gang of stuff on deck but one thing that has come out recently was Ugly God’s album The Booty Tape. We did two samples on there: “Fuck Ugly God” and “Bitch”.

All In project:

CD: You’ve been making music nonstop for quite some time. What keeps you going?
DJ: My partners Go! Ricky Go! and Walt Live always keep me motivated.  Watching them work along with our conversations about whatever we’ve learned recently is a constant source of inspiration. We’re always scouring the net for information. We constantly send each other links on everything from the latest plugins, mix tutorials, interviews and anything else we can learn from. We share a special curiosity for anything that can make our lives or music better. Knowing that there’s always something else out there that can improve what you’re doing keeps us searching and inspired.

CD: If the music industry has taught you one things, it’s ______________________. 
DJ: Get your paperwork straight before you go all out on someone. There’s so many acts that I had a big hand in getting off the ground but I never saw the fruits of my labor because they just moved on. When I met Pi’erre I knew he was talented but needed some work. I’d never signed a producer before him and making sure we got our paperwork straight up front saved me from potential headaches I had in the past. Some folks will use you up in the industry, feel they got what they needed from you and keep it moving. Past missteps helped me get this situation right.

Canape:

CD: Is it hard to split time between passion projects and making beats for other artists/vocalists?
DJ: Balancing is always difficult. We put out a yoga album called Thousand Fold two years ago and it essentially got ignored. But that doesn’t matter to me because the music touches my soul. I feel when you’re creating art it shouldn’t be strictly for commercial gain. If that comes then great but I enjoy doing the thing that warms my spirit more than anything else. A girl I practiced yoga with during the time that we were making it actually told me today how much it meant to her. That’s priceless. So I bounce back and forth but I’m really figuring all of this out as I go. Being open to changing my game plan has always been key.

CD: What’s the rest of the year looking like for you?
DJ: Hopefully a bunch of these samples we’ve been sending finally get released. We dropped Ricky’s sophomore album PLAID a few months back so we’re still getting people hip to that. I’ve been developing a new female singer named Anna Valena for the past 3 years and we’re close to being ready to roll her music out. I played her music for someone and they told me it sounds like kush and anguish. That’s probably right [laughs]. I honestly had been off just making beats just to make beats for a minute but I got my swag back and the new beats are sounding amazing. I feel like we’ve finally distilled all of our best qualities into our greatest production thus far. So I’m really excited to see who ends up getting on them.

Tapas:

CD: You’ve done everything from yoga instrumentals to concept beat tapes. Do these form organically or do you approach a beat with a certain vision in mind? 
DJ: It’s always a mood. It depends on how we’re feeling and where we’re at at the time. Most rappers are a few years back musically so for awhile it was like beating a dead horse trying to give our musical stuff to guys who just wanted the trap bell. Luckily it seems there are a few catching up and even becoming forward thinking. Everything we do is organic so once we talk about an idea we just knock it out and give it to the world.

CD: Outside of your circle of musicians, what have you been listening to as of late?
DJ: Washed Out’s new record is beautiful, it does something to me. Kali Uchis is pretty fire. There’s a dope new crop of female artists coming up that I dig. On the rap side, not too much has moved me recently. Birds in the Trap was the last album that I consistently jammed. Tay k47’s “The Race” is probably the best song out right now.

CD: How has the Atlanta scene changed in the last year?
DJ: It’s constantly evolving. I think it’s becoming more open. There had always been an undercurrent of different types of music with trap being our main export of course. Now we got kids like 6lack and JID and others who are pushing the game forward. It’s a beautiful time to be here.

CD: Do you have any advice for producers working on their craft?
DJ: Stay learning! Never think you got it all figured out. Learn from the past and figure out how to distill that into what you’re doing. You don’t have to rip off Organized Noize but listen to it and understand what made that music have the impact that it did. I see a lot of kids using a couple stock sounds and wonder why they aren’t popping. It’s because they aren’t experimenting. I feel most of what we do is pure experimentation. We stumble on incredible ideas all the time just by trying shit. Be open to other genres of music and don’t be afraid to collaborate.

CD: Any final thoughts / words of wisdom?
DJ: Be a good person. I see so many people with talent but no awareness or they just want to use people to get to the next step up the ladder. That will only get you so far. I’ve been able to make a living off music since I was 16 because I understood that I needed to bring value to situations before I deserved anything. Be honest and be kind. It’s rare these days.

Fader Burn One playlist:

check out this episode of MASS APPEAL’s “rhythm roulette” featuring DJ BURN ONE and The 5 Points Bakery

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